Musk called on OpenAI to announce the reason for firing Ultraman: If it is related to AI safety, it will affect the world
The Paper reporter Hu Hanyan
Two days after being abruptly dismissed by the board of directors, Sam Altman, the “father of ChatGPT”, returned to the headquarters of AI (artificial intelligence) giant OpenAI wearing a visitor card.
At noon on November 19, local time, Ultraman posted a photo of himself holding an OpenAI visitor card on the X (formerly Twitter) platform, and wrote in the accompanying text: “This is the first and last time I wear this thing.”
According to foreign media reports, former CEO Altman and former president Greg Brockman, who suddenly left OpenAI on the 17th, both returned to the company on the 19th to participate in negotiations with the board of directors. In the comment area of Ultraman, some netizens joked: “If this conference is broadcast live for a fee, the money earned will be enough to develop GPT 5, 6 and 7.”
Previously, relevant sources revealed that Altman expressed his willingness to return to OpenAI, but hoped that the company would change its governance methods and replace current board members. Altman is also seeking a statement retracting the board’s previous allegations of misconduct against him. After coming under pressure from employees and investors, the board agreed in principle to resign, but declined to formally resign and is still reviewing candidates for new directors.
Although it seems that the voices supporting Ultraman’s return currently have the upper hand, some people suspect that the board of directors may be the right party.
On the afternoon of the 19th, after netizens questioned people’s too unanimous support for Ultraman’s tweets, Elon Musk, who co-founded OpenAI with Ultraman and others, replied: “It is very important that the public You should know why the board made this decision so resolutely. If this is about AI safety, it will affect the entire planet.”
This is the first time Musk has made a public statement on the OpenAI personnel crisis.
Regardless of whether Ultraman decides to return or not, this turmoil has brought a rare opportunity to OpenAI’s competitors.
According to foreign media reports, AI startups such as Cohere and Adept have quickly launched a new round of recruitment and actively contacted OpenAI employees, and the Google DeepMind team has received many resumes from OpenAI employees on the 17th. Anthropic, an AI startup considered OpenAI’s biggest competitor, also posted a job listing on LinkedIn, stating that the company is looking for multiple technical project managers.
There is no doubt that OpenAI’s “coup drama” is the Silicon Valley news that has received the most global attention this weekend.
On November 17, OpenAI, which became famous for ChatGPT, made a very sudden announcement that the board of directors announced that Altman would resign as CEO and leave the company, and that Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati would serve as interim CEO, effective immediately. Regarding the reasons for the removal of Altman, OpenAI wrote: “He has not always been candid in his communications with the board of directors, hindering the board’s ability to perform its duties. The board of directors no longer has confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI.”
The announcement also announced that OpenAI co-founder and president Brockman will resign as chairman of the board of directors, but will continue to serve in the company. However, not long after, Brockman stated on the X (formerly Twitter) platform that he would also be leaving the company.
Brockman also stated in subsequent tweets that he and Altman were “shocked and saddened” by what the board of directors had done. Both of them only learned of their impending removal on the 17th. With the exception of Mulati, who learned the news the night before, virtually the entire management team was informed shortly before the official announcement.
According to Brockman’s hints and the analysis of some OpenAI employees, company board member and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever was the person who presided over this “coup.” After Altman and Brockman left, Saskville, who has always emphasized AI safety in public, became the only remaining co-founder of the company and the only internal member of the four-member board of directors.
There is no doubt that the board’s abrupt decision intensified long-standing disagreements within the team about “AI safety.” According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, three senior OpenAI researchers resigned on the night of the 17th in order to express their support for Altman and Brockman. Beyond them, many employees were extremely disappointed with the board’s decision.
One day after Altman was dismissed, on November 18, according to multiple foreign media reports, OpenAI’s investors and some employees were joining forces with Microsoft to put pressure on the company’s board of directors, asking the board to withdraw its decision to remove Altman from his position as director. . On the same day, technology media The Verge quoted a person close to Altman as saying that the board of directors had agreed in principle to reinstate Altman and Brockman, and that Altman felt “ambivalent” about whether to return to OpenAI.
According to foreign media reports, Altman also made a request to investors who supported his return to the company: If he wants to return to OpenAI, a new board of directors and governance structure must be established for the company. On the other hand, Altman may also be considering setting up a new company to allow those OpenAI employees who will follow him to leave the company to join.
Some analysts say that if Altman leaves OpenAI, it will not have much impact on the company’s products in the short term, but it will definitely be reflected in the stock price of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), OpenAI’s largest shareholder and partner. On the 17th, Microsoft’s stock price closed down 1.7% that day, closing at $369.84, and continued to fall in after-hours trading. If the turmoil is not resolved over the weekend, Microsoft’s stock price will be more obviously affected after the market opens on Monday.